Sir Richard Branson will join an ex-UK Virgin Voyages departure this summer.
Branson will sail on a five-night Amsterdam and Zeebrugge cruise from Portsmouth departing on September 3, which will be dubbed a ‘celebration cruise’.
The Virgin Group founder hinted he would join two additional ex-UK sailings in August or September.
He made the announcement during a live video shared on the line’s dedicated travel agent Facebook page, marking the first time Branson has communicated with UK agents in that way. He spoke alongside chief executive Nirmal Saverimuttu and vice-president of international sales and marketing Shane Lewis-Riley.
More than 450 UK agents watched the video live, which was a “record audience”, the line said.
Branson praised UK agents’ performance since the line launched in 2021, saying: “Many, many, many congratulations to you all in the UK. We will finally be sailing out of the UK in August and September and it will be momentous to see a ship there.
“I lived in the UK for most of my life and it’s where my kids and grandkids are so I’m very attached to it. I look forward to jumping on a ship on September 3.”
Riley said: “Thank you to our First Mates for joining our very special Facebook Live with Sir Richard and our chief executive Nirmal.
“It just demonstrates the importance of travel agents to our business. Sir Richard and Nirmal are incredibly supportive of our UK plans as we set out on our year of Virgin Voyages.
“Stay tuned for more exciting plans as we gear up for our Med season and the return of UK sailings later this year.”
To celebrate the wave period, Virgin Voyages is running an agent incentive called Bring on Barcelona, where the top sellers during the wave period will be rewarded with a seven-night Mediterranean sailing on Scarlet Lady.
The cruise will depart on a roundtrip itinerary from Barcelona on May 5 and call at Toulon, Marina di Carrara and Ibiza.
To enter, agents must make a booking by February 29 and log it on the line’s agent website. To qualify, booking must be a European 2024 sailing departing between May 5 and November 3.
Riley said: “Last year we did the Bring on Bimini incentive and this year we’re doing Bring on Barcelona to give our top sellers in wave the opportunity to join us on a sailing.”
Saverimuttu added: “It’s a wonderful incentive and I’m glad we can offer this to our UK agents.”
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